Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Strawberry Meringues (#fantasticalfoodfight)


Strawberry Shortcake is more 'All-American' than Apple Pie, I think and depending on where you're from you may have your luscious sweetened strawberries on pound cake, biscuits or even actual shortcakes.

Personally, I have yet to find a version I didn't love, so I was happy to hear that this month's Fantastical Food Fight theme is Strawberry Shortcake!  Not only would I have an excuse to make one of my favorite desserts, but I'd be sure to collect a whole lot of new strawberry shortcake inspiration, too!


One little catch - we were theoretically avoiding sugar. And grains.  So I did what any sane person would - I decided to go for a grain-free version and just decided to not worry about the sugar at all, since we were mostly doing fine on that score, a little one time indulgence wasn't going to be an problem.

(In the interests of transparency - we totally failed to launch our eating plans this month anyway - we took a weekend trip and there were blintzes.  Amazing deli blintzes good enough to make my eyes roll back in my head.  Never pass up a good blintz. You will only rarely find one that is as excellent as that one was.  So, we'll try again in May. Ahem... ok, back to the strawberries!)

Since I was going to try a grain-free version, meringue  shells made the most sense to me - these light, crisp little shells make lovely carriers for the sweetened strawberries, whipped cream and, if desired, some toasted coconut flakes or slivered almonds.

The shells are best within 24 hours of being made - after that, they get a bit chewy.  But they're also nice to nibble on plain or with a bit of jam, so use them up!

The meringue recipe comes from an old Betty Crocker recipe that's been kicking around on my bookshelf for a long time (thanks, Mom!).

They are very sweet and next time I might try taking the sugar down to 1/3 of a cup.

Strawberry Meringues
(serves 8)

Meringue Shells
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c. sugar

Strawberries
2 pints strawberries (or bag of frozen), cleaned, stemmed and sliced (leave a few halved or whole if desired, for garnish)
1/3 c. sugar

1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 T. sugar (optional)
1/2 c. toasted coconut flakes (opt.)

To make the strawberries:
Once strawberries have been cleaned, stemmed and sliced as desired, combine in a bowl with the sugar, stirring to coat thoroughly. Cover and let chill for a few hours or overnight. The sugar combines with the juices to create a light syrup.

To make the meringue shells:
Preheat oven to 225F.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Using a stand mixer set to medium speed, beat together egg whites and cream of tartar for several minutes, until soft peaks form. Raise to high speed and very slowly add sugar, a little at a time until stiff, glossy peaks form and sugar is mostly dissolved.

Spoon meringue into 8 rounds on parchment paper, shaping into nests that are slightly raised around the edges. (You could use a pastry bag to create pretty shapes, if desired.)

Bake one hour at 225F, then shut off heat without opening the oven door.  Let sit in  the closed oven for an additional hour.

While the meringues are baking, take a few moments to wash the mixer bowl and beaters - you'll need them again before serving.  An hour or so before planning to serve, tuck your mixing bowl into the freezer to chill.

Make the whipped cream:
The key to great whipped cream is to freeze the bowl first!  Combine cream, vanilla and sugar to bowl and whip at high speed for about a minute, until stiff peaks form. Don't overbeat or you'll wind up with butter!

With all the sugar going on in the shells and the strawberries, we chose not to sweeten our whipped cream, and did not notice a lack.



To serve:
On a plate, set one meringue, top with a serving of strawberries, and a dollop of whipped cream.  Sprinkle with a few toasted coconut flakes, if desired. (slivered almonds are a lovely addition, too!) If you left some of the strawberries whole, top the whole thing with one perfect berry.


Indulge!

If you'd like to join into the Fantastical Food Fight, sign up here!

Don't forget - the link up below is only for Fantastical Food Fight Strawberry Shortcake entries - if you're stopping in to share your other posts, I'd love to see you over at Party in Your PJs!



18 comments:

  1. Meringue shells sounds like a great idea! Sounds tasty!

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  2. I love the idea of meringue shells. Wonderful.

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  3. I'm drooling - first you had me with strawberries, then you add meringue and whipped cream and I'm in heaven. Great recipe for those who can't eat grains.

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  4. What an elegant take on this idea- great idea!

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  5. That looks really yummy. Thanks for sharing. #Thoughtfullthursdays.

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  6. What a neat take on Strawberry shortcake; my husband LOVES strawberry shortcake and requests it for his birthday each year. Pinned.

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  7. What a great take on strawberry shortcake!

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  8. Oh yeah! These look fabulous. Thanks for linking up to the Friday Frenzy! Pinned!

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  9. I'm so excited that strawberry season is starting! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner Party! Hope your week is great.

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  10. Thanks for the reminder of how much I love meringues (even when they do get a little chewy!). Strawberries are a clear winner too.
    Hello from the Hearth & Soul link party!

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  11. Your Strawberry Meringues look great! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

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  12. This is a great spring dessert! Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story and we hope you will join us again next week.

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  13. ANYTHING with meringue is fine by me! I love Pavlova, Eton mess the lot, and with fruti you can convince yourself that it is heathy so it's win win. This looks delicious.

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  14. Lynda congratulations your strawberry meringues were the most popular for this week at Sweet Inspiration!

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  15. I never would have thought to use meringues as a vessel for strawberry shortcake. Love this idea. Pinned.

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  16. Meringues are absolutely GENIUS!! YUM.

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